Media companies that have already integrated CPQ with their CRM are seeing sales cycles reduced by 33%, a 49% increase in the number of quotes, proposals, and RFP responses generated, and a 105% increase in deal sizes.
In this article, we share how CPQ integration works with CRM and ERP—and how optimal integration ensures a seamless, standardized data flow from opportunity awareness to order delivery.
With media company offerings evolving and multiplying at the speed of digital, it is essential that sellers are empowered to consistently configure, price, and quote (CPQ) complex solutions quickly and accurately. Long sales cycles and limited access to the customer’s decision-makers make correct pricing a business imperative. However, siloed communication, systems, and processes inherent in many media companies lead to misquotes, incorrect billing, conflictive contracts, and other errors that add unnecessary complexity and length to the sales process. To eliminate inaccuracies and streamline workflow, sales, finance, and service must be unified through transparency across the customer lifecycle. Only when all teams are working with the same data, in the same format, while using the same tools can true alignment exist.
Automating the CPQ process allows media companies to provide correct and repeatable pricing across all media channels, as well as to deliver actionable business intelligence— freeing sales teams to spend more time on business development. Employing a technology-driven CPQ strategy is not only necessary for sustained success, but also growth at scale.
In this whitepaper, we’ll discuss the configure, price, quote components of a CPQ platform, present the benefits of such a solution, and briefly consider points of integration.
Show me the money!
Configure, price, quote software exists to optimize the sales process. Let’s take a look at each component.
Multi-channel advertising plans often include a media mix of television, radio, digital, print, and other channels. Configuring these plans using CPQ is made simpler by enabling sellers to choose a selection of popular selections for package customization. Additionally, CPQ solutions provide search functionality with smart filtering to more easily find the products a seller wants to include. With a guided selling option, users can even have the best options presented to them. For example, option A may be more optimal than option B based on historical billing and customer profile data—with option C added because it is a new offering that is relevant in either case.
Media advertising presents a real challenge with regards to pricing due to the number of variables involved with channels, OTT, digital, etc. Print ad pricing is based on not only location but reach, size and colour as well. Radio advertising rates vary based on the station, program, ad length, and daypart. Television is perhaps the most complex given its evolving transition from linear broadcast only to a hybrid model of linear plus digital, subscription video on demand (SVOD)—all influencing placement pricing. A CPQ solution provides clear, uniform rate information to ensure that all sales and non-sales team members are working from the same accounts receivable playbook. It also allows leadership to preset discounts, limitations, and guidelines, etc.
With CPQ, companies can reduce churn and preventable lost billing by automatically generating renewal opportunities. CPQ empowers companies to upsell and cross-sell more effectively with price increases at renewal and coterminous add-ons. Contract amendments, usage pricing, and even renewals can be automated as well. CPQ systems aren’t intended to replace presentations, one-sheets, and other sales tools, however, most empower sellers to export information in a PDF format. When integrated with a CRM’s email feature, CPQ quotes can be automatically sent to recipients.
Show me the benefits!
Now that we’ve highlighted the functionality and features of CPQ, let’s take a look at the benefits this software delivers.
Forget the tortoise
It is typical for sales quotes to take days to complete and depending on the backlog, approval lags, and several other factors, the time-lapsed can extend even further—often jeopardizing a sale in the process. CPQ not only speeds the quoting process but also expedites quote approval through empowering sale leadership to predetermine and set discount thresholds. The faster an accurate and complete proposal is delivered to an interesting prospect, the sooner—and more effectively—a deal can be closed.
CPQ can also advise larger deal sizes than might have otherwise been proposed by sales. By presenting up-selling suggestions, preconfigured bundles, and protecting profit margins, CPQ champions more aggressive, practical proposals while drawing clear lines that, if crossed, would be detrimental to profitability. If a seller is new (or is selling many new offerings), CPQ serves as a barrier against mistakes. It also serves as a spur by equipping the individual with awareness to include the best elements, at the best rates, in every proposal made.
Less screen watching (and errors)
Even the most seasoned business development professional will likely cite administrative data entry as one of the most time-consuming responsibilities apart from actual business development activities. According to Forbes, salespeople spend less than 36% of their time selling. When integrated with CRM, CPQ eliminates the need for multiple systems to manage and track relationships, freeing a seller to do what she does best. Less data entry also means a reduction in order and quoting errors that require retroactive clean-up by sellers and non-sales team members alike.
CPQ ensures a superior experience for the prospective customer through the acquisition process. Too often, sellers close a long-awaited deal only to make mistakes in contract completeness, setting proper terms, or in actual configuration. At best, such errors leave a bad impression on a client. At worst, the mishandling of a contract compels a signatory to take his business elsewhere. CPQ’s delivery of the right proposal, with the right components— delivered professionally and uniformly— creates a hassle-free experience for the buyer, establishing the base for a successful relationship.
Plays well with others
One might ask, “Where does CPQ fit into the existing infrastructure?” Let’s take a closer look.
While CPQ solutions can be implemented independently, these solutions primarily work in unison with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. A CRMs purpose is to foundationally provide data analysis for identifying opportunities, as well as improving customer relations and retention through more effective interactions, service, and productivity. Likewise, integrating advanced configuration, pricing, and quoting capabilities empower more efficient sales efforts that lead to new business, which can then be efficiently retained and managed with the help of a CRM.
On the other side of the CRM-to-CPQ data flow lives enterprise resource planning (ERP). This software manages business processes and enables back-office function automation—specifically to technology, human resources, and services. ERP delivers benefits with forecasting, data regulatory compliance, and improved customer service, in addition to billing and finance data management.
As they relate to profitability:
- CRM helps to identify, retain, and grow business.
- CPQ helps to generate more accurate and larger quotes, faster.
- ERP helps to align teams, fulfil orders, and reduce waste.
As is the case with any tool, these solutions are only as good as the quality and effort invested in utilizing them to the fullest. Consolidated and optimized data is a prerequisite. Equally important is internal user “buy-in” and company-wide compliance in regards to standardized data entry and processes.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution provider, so an enterprise media company seeking to streamline sales and operations must go through a proper vetting process. The key is to choose a seamless CRM-CPQ combination that is interoperable with a preferred ERP. It is also vital to have expert support for proper data management, migration, integrations, and ongoing optimization.